Glenbard North senior Simone Carr is getting a bit impatient.
The DePaul-bound senior finished sixth in the 400 (56.49) in Class 3A last season and has been looking to pop a personal record this season.
But with the weather not cooperating and with Carr being a bit banged up, she's not been able to flash her state-worthy speed.
Carr took a step forward on Saturday, cruising to first place in the 400 in an impressive 57.85 and leading Glenbard North to second place at the Mike Rebeck Invitational at Schaumburg's Gary Scholz Field.
"It's been frustrating without getting the p.r.," said Carr, who turned it on in the final 200 meters to hold off Rockton Hononegah senior Patrice Jones (58.81) and St. Ignatius sophomore Hannah Cohn (59.93). "But I really worked hard this winter and improved. The p.r. is coming."
Jones took first in the 100 (12.75) and 200 (26.39) leading Hononegah to the title with 142 points. Glenbard North took second (117 points) followed by St. Ignatius (108 points), Whitney Young (93 points), and Lane Tech (62.3 points).
Grayslake North (49.3), Streamwood (48 points), and host Schaumburg (42 points) went 6-7-8.
Carr started the day by combining with junior Katy Murphy, senior Jackie Howard, and sophomore Keina Suggs to help Glenbard North secure first place in the 400 relay (50.46).
The Panthers senior then came back to take the 400, flashing her finishing speed in the home stretch to top Jones.
"One thing she has gotten better from last year is her flat-out speed," said Glenbard North coach Gary Heilers of Carr's acceleration. "She's special; she finds a way to get it done."
Carr missed a chance at state her sophomore year, when she broke a toe at the sectional meet. But she has definitely turned it on her final two years and is looking for a big finish this season.
"I'm excited to get back to state," said Carr. "I am looking forward to running against some great competition and I am ready for them to push me."
Glenbard North swept the field events with sophomore Tasia Collins taking first in both the shot put (38-05.5) and discus (109-06) and sophomore Allison Wahrman taking first in both the high jump (5-0) and triple jump (36-01.5).
Murphy, who was part of the 400 relay that will be looking for state qualification, also took first in the long jump (15-10) in giving the Panthers a strong field showing.
Jones, who finished ninth in the 400 at 2011 Class 3A state meet, is back in prime form after coping with an injury last year. She swept the 100 and 200 to lead Hononegah.
"It was a great day," said Jones who made a move in the 400 at the 200-meter mark but could not hold off Carr. "She definitely matched my move. Now I know what to work on."
Senior Ashley Cornford gave Hononegah a first-place finish in the 300 low hurdles (48.8), nipping Whitney Young sophomore Joelle Ataessien (48.8) at the line.
Alexis Jakubowski (2:21.07) gave St. Ignatius a huge lift. The Mount Prospect junior teamed with junior Olivia Meyer (2:21.89) in giving the Wolfpack a 1-2 finish in the 800. Jakubowski then came back to take third in the 1,600 (5:21.2), one placed ahead of Meyer (5:28.47).
"We (Meyer) both have similar paces and we always work together," said Jakubowki. "Compared to last year my times are better, but I'm waiting -- I don't want to peak too early."
St. Ignatius also took first in the 1,600 relay (4:14.41) and 3,200 relay (10:04.75). Cohn, who finished second in the 100 (12.8) and third in the 400, anchored the Wolfpack's 1,600 relay.
Streamwood sophomore Gabby Juarez has exploded onto the distance scene this season after dealing with an iron deficiency her freshman season. Juarez was a state qualifier in the cross country season and has continued her ascent in track.
The Sabres sophomore cruised to a first-place finish in the 3,200 in an impressive 10:55.59. She took the lead in the second half and continued to make separation before crossing the line with an 18-second cushion.
Juarez then came back to crush the final two laps and win the 1,600 (5:13.61).
"I'm really surprising myself," said Juarez. "I think I'm building confidence."
In both races, Juarez hung back early before taking command late.
"I like building into the race, I know I can finish strong," said Juarez of her late surges. "Coming off the iron deficiency it was discouraging, but having that break, I'm feeling much more confident."
For Schaumburg coach Courtney Smith, it's been a frustrating start to the season as the Saxons have battled injuries, having to deal with some injuries, including a hamstring injury that has sidelined senior star Darneisha Spann.
Spann has qualified to the Class 3A state meet in both the 100 high hurdles and 300 low hurdles the past two seasons. She is looking to make a return by the postseason.
Also missing on Saturday was distance runner Caroline Kurdej, and emerging runner Erin Falsey, who finished fourth in the 3,200 (11:47.2), was scratched from the 1,600 after dealing with a blister on her foot.
But Schaumburg junior Ali Gutt made quite an impression on Saturday, taking second in the 3,200 (11:13.57) with a personal best and then coming back to take second in the 1,600 (5:19.71).
"I got off to strong start in 3,200 and that helped me finish," said Gutt of her strong double. "I feel like I'm moving up and hoping to put all together as the season continues."
Senior Krista Legan gave the Saxons a boost with a third-place finish in the shot put (33-09) and a fifth place finish in the discus (93-01).
"Ali had a really strong day and shows she is ready to go," said Smith. "We'll work out the nooks now, and hopefully by postseason we'll be ready to rock."
Ataessien powered Whitney Young with a first place in the 100 high hurdles (15.62), a second place finish in the 300 low hurdles, and she was also part of the first place 800 relay (1:46.2) and fourth place 400 relay (51.28).